Friday, March 14, 2008

Making a Career Change - things to consider

Changing career paths entirely can seem daunting. However, every year, the number of adults in the workforce who have changed careers — multiple times, even — rises dramatically. Did you know that the average worker will change careers three times over the course of his or her life? And, in the future, that number may grow even more.

There are a number of reasons you might think about changing your career. Besides just being unhappy in your current career, you may just be unable to advance further in your current career, especially without a great deal more education. Your interests and abilities may have developed beyond the point where a specific field is able to hold your attention.

If you have decided on a complete change of career path, your next step must be deciding on your new career. The easiest way to do so is often to simply list jobs you have an interest in and begin eliminating them. You might be able to eliminate particular jobs by considering the experience and education necessary (and whether you wish to spend the time required to acquire both), by considering the opportunities available in that field or by looking at your long-term goals. Lastly, you might consider seeking out opportunities to try out a given field, perhaps on a temporary or volunteer basis, to see if you actually enjoy the work.

No matter what field you decide to explore, you need to honestly take an inventory of the skills you have that will help you in a new position, as well as researching the skills you will need to acquire. That's where you really need to be honest with yourself. If your current skills don't pass muster, you're going to do something about that: go back to school; take a temp job which will help you acquire more skills; etc. You will need to create a new resume, pitching yourself to employers hiring for your new career path, and you may need to prepare yourself to work in a position with less responsibility than your last, at least in the short term. The bottom line is, changing careers can be a great deal of work.

Many individuals question whether changing careers is a viable option — whether it is worth it. It is an individual choice, but for those workers who are willing to put the necessary work into the process, it can be well worthwhile.

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